“You can’t move forward looking back,” she said. “I know you’re upset about what happened today, but I need someone to shout with me right now, ‘I have to move on.'”
Throughout the speech, Bickers directly and indirectly referenced his condemnation and implored his followers to prepare for the future.
“God is about to do things that are going to be amazing for all of us,” Bickers said.
Bickers said she had been preparing her church since 2017 for a “convergence” of things in the world that the congregation would need to struggle with. It was also the year the bribery scandal and federal prosecutors’ focus on Bickers in the investigation came to light.
Bickers said that after the verdicts were read on Wednesday, supporters in the courtroom worried “how they’re going to get me out of the building,” she said.
“I said, ‘I’m going out the same way I came in. I came in with my head held high, I (leave) with my head held high,” she said.
“They said, ‘There’s media everywhere.’ I said, ‘They went everywhere. … I’ll walk past them as long as they’re in my face,” Bickers said.
Bickers said God has prepared future blessings for the faithful and urged them to be ready when the opportunity arises.
“I won’t let anything stop me from achieving my goal. Don’t let the world tell you your success is a mistake,” Bickers said. “Don’t let the world convince you that if you’re successful, you must be a crook.”
Bickers was found guilty of 9 of 12 federal charges – including conspiracy to bribe, money laundering, wire fraud and filing false tax returns – by a six-man jury and six women.
A political consultant and voting guru who helped Kasim Reed win his first term as mayor in 2009, Bickers then served as director of social services in Reed’s administration from 2010 to 2013.
Prosecutors alleged that she used her influence at Atlanta City Hall to direct some $17 million in sidewalk, bridge work and snow removal contracts to contractors Elvin “ER” Mitchell Jr. and Charles P. Richards Jr., who had previously pleaded guilty and testified against Bickers.
Bickers received some $2 million in bribes in return, according to his indictment.
Bickers started as a chaplain under Sheriff Clayton Victor Hill in 2016, about three years after leaving his city post, and has steadily increased his position – and his salary, currently earning more than $130,000 a year. .
Hill was suspended from duty and faces multiple federal charges for violating inmates’ constitutional rights.